Collection and Collusion

Sharkey quits admiring his hair long enough to write me:

Two nights ago I had a dream I actually remembered (partially). You weren’t in the dream, but in the dream, I thought of you. I don’t remember what was happening in my dream at the time, but I remember reaching into my pocket and finding two large desiccant packets. As I was about to throw them out, I thought, “I should save these for Tata.” Then I thought, “Oh, screw that, I’m not going to carry these things around until I see her!” So I threw them away.

Actually, I’ve had the same thoughts awake. I come across the desiccant packets and think you’d want them, but then think, “Screw that, I have too much crap around here already. I don’t need those things piling up.”

Given the color, texture and ridiculous healthy sheen of his hair, I feel honored to have crossed his screwy mind at all.

I collect three things of varying usefulness:

1. Ex-lovers;
2. Interesting motherboards;
3. Desiccant packets.

Okay, I admit I have a few other collections.

4. Mardi Gras beads;
5. Pieces of broken windshield glass;
6. Watches that stopped on my wrist;
7. Antique accessories;
8. Rusty metal objects.

In my closets, I’m carefully preserving a completely useless array of Little Old Lady purses. Fifteen years ago, my friends’ grandmoms died off in what must’ve been a wave of Lower East Side rent-controlled chaos. It turned out that grandmoms were all my size and took excellent care of their garments. My friends, sensing an opportunity to saddle me with amusing stuff, gave me piles and piles of clothing. We never figured out how to wear some items but I wore lots of these things on stage. My favorite object was a black and white halter bathing suit my friends called “the cigars! cigarettes! dress.” If anyone remembered whose grandmom left us that treasure we might learn some spicy family history.

I dislike meaningless objects. When I don’t remember where something came from, what purpose it served or can’t think of a use for it in the future, I throw or give it away. I am thinking now of giving away things I no longer need and acquiring things I fill with my own meaning. This I have not really done before. Maybe. Maybe not. I’m an inadequate consumer by American standards. It is amusing that when I appear off-stage in a dream I turn up as my silliest, homemade self. I wonder if I came to say goodbye.

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